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Court dismisses motion

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, August 02, 2014

NATIONAL Federation Party hopeful Makereta Waqavonovono's motion seeking constitutional redress and clarification on the Electoral Decree was dismissed by the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Justice Kamal Kumar in his ruling said the court had no jurisdiction to hear the motion by Ms Waqavonovono and, therefore, her motion was dismissed.

The court also ordered that Ms Waqavonovono pay $3000 as costs to the defendants being the chairman of the Fijian Electoral Commission, the Supervisor of Elections and the Attorney-General.

According to Ms Waqavonovono's motion, Section 23(4)(c) and Section (23)(5)of the Electoral Decree violated her constitutional rights provided in Section 23(2), Section 23(3)(c) and Section 26 of the 2013 Constitution.

Section 23(4)(c) of the Electoral Decree states a person is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for election to parliament only if the person is ordinarily a resident in Fiji for at least two years immediately before being nominated.

Section 23(5) then further defined who an ordinary resident was.

Ms Waqavovono was a senior adviser in the Solomon Islands Public Solicitor's Office in 2012, and in 2013, she was in Australia doing her Masters in Law.

Following this motion, an application to strike out the motion was made by the acting Solicitor General Sharvada Nand Sharma.

He said the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Justice Kumar said this section of the Electoral Decree had been amended on Thursday.

After the ruling, Ms Waqavonovono's lawyer Raman Pratap Singh told the court that since it had no jurisdiction to hear the case, it should not also order costs.

Justice Kumar said this issue could be dealt with by the Appeals Court.

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